NCAA Responds to Harsh Criticism of Rich Paul Rule

The NCAA is responding to harsh criticism regarding what has been dubbed the “Rich Paul Rule.” Agents who wish to represent student-athletes exploring the NBA Draft waters must now hold a bachelor’s degree. The rule appears to target LeBron James friend and agent Rich Paul, who has become one of the most powerful agents in basketball.

With such heavy criticism coming from some of the sport’s biggest stars, the NCAA released a statement regarding the matter.

“Although some can and have been successful without a college degree, as a higher education organization the NCAA values a college education and continues to emphasize the importance of earning a degree,” the statement read. “We were guided by recommendations from the Commission on College Basketball — which spoke with the agent and advisor community — that the NCAA certification process should be more stringent than current processes.

“With this in mind, we benchmarked our new rules against requirements for other organizations that certify agents, like the NBPA which also requires agents to have a bachelor’s degree. While different and distinct, our rules taken together, which is the manner they were meant to be examined, provide a clear opportunity for our student-athletes to receive excellent advice from knowledgeable professionals on either the college or professional path they choose.”

According to the NCAA, agents must:

  1. Have a bachelor’s degree;
  2. Have been NBPA certified for at least three consecutive years and be in good-standing;
  3. Maintain professional liability insurance.

Rich Paul is LeBron’s longtime friend and agent. Paul, the founder of Klutch Sports, represents LeBron, Anthony Davis, and a number of other big-name NBA stars. Because of Paul, there has been a shift in dynamics that brings power to the players, who have been more open about demanding trades to land at their preferred destinations.

Because Paul does not have a bachelor’s degree, he would be barred from representing NCAA student-athletes which limits them from having one of the most powerful agents in the sport.

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